Illinois Farmer Puts Together Risk Management Plan with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf September 5, 2013

PJ and Char Thompson 1PJ and Char Thompson of Little York, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in several areas of their farm operation. They talked about how working on the financials of their business with Water Street has helped them keep track of important information:

"We were looking for someone to put the total package together for us - accounting, financials, marketing and bookkeeping. We're getting that all put together with Water Street to manage our risk. Our advisors are good listeners and very organized. They help keep us on the right track so information flows as often as possible.

Doing bookkeeping with Water Street is more efficient and accurate than what we had used previously. They've helped us to become more detail-oriented with documenting our expenses. We wanted to partner with Water Street for bookkeeping because it's one less thing for us to have on our minds. We wanted one company to handle everything - and Water Street is a good fit for that."

Father-Son Farming Operation Works with Water Street Solutions to Reduce Risk, Plan Farm Transition

by Heather Lauf August 29, 2013

Durdan familyDoug and Justin Durdan of Streator, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in multiple areas of their operation. They talked about how working with the company has impacted their farm:

"A lot has changed in the last five years in farming. The market has become a lot more volatile - not just the price of grain, but with inputs, rents, machinery, and the cost of land. In that short time, there's been as much change in farming as there had been in the past 30 years put together. With greater volatility in the markets, we wanted to be more in control of our marketing and reduce our risk. Our market specialist opens new perspectives to us, especially strategically. He knows our numbers and understands our financial position so he bases ideas for us off of that.

Looking at our financial analysis makes us more aware of our cost of production. It's not only on an annual basis but more of a weekly basis because the actual cost of production changes frequently. I used to create my own analysis, but the Water Street financial analysis takes everything a step further by including machinery costs, land costs and more. It shows our cost of production going into a growing season, and all throughout it - so that helps us make plans and market our grain.

In an operation with a lot of moving parts, getting a legacy plan in writing is really crucial. You don't ever want to think that something bad could happen to anyone, but it can. If something happened to either of us, the plan will make sure the business continues. It would be sad to work your entire life building a farm business and then not be able to pass it on due to lack of planning. I think everyone starts out wanting to pass the farm on to the next generation. It's not really fair to anyone if you don't take the time to make sure that the transfer will be successful."

Illinois Father-Son Farming Operation Creates Proactive Plans with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf August 22, 2013

Gary and Adam Ford 1Gary and Adam Ford of Tonica, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in several areas of their operation. They talked about why they originally decided to partner with the company in 2007:

"We looked at the volatility of the markets and realized that things were changing, and that we needed to change, as well. There's a trust that's been built now between us and Water Street. We understand more about positions and strategies and have become more comfortable. Our advisors understand how we communicate and make decisions. They adjust their communication to us and how we like to communicate. We're more at ease because we have a plan and we know what we're going to do with our marketing.

We're very impressed by the information in the financial analysis and how it's presented. Our ag finance specialist has opened our minds to improvements we can make and areas where we're already doing very well. We like seeing our operation benchmarked against other operations and averages so we can see where we're different and why. It's also helpful to know our direct breakeven cost because that shows us where we can sell.

Before the 2012 harvest, it looked like we weren't going to have good yields because of the drought. Our ag finance specialist showed us what our crop insurance would do for us. That really set our minds at ease going into harvest. It reduced a lot of our stress when we realized we were going to be OK - no matter which way our yields went."

Young Nebraska Farmer Manages His Risk with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf July 11, 2013

Brett King photoBrett King of Newman Grove, Nebraska works with Water Street Solutions in his grain and cattle operation. He talked about the impact he has seen on the success of his operation from working with his Water Street advisors:

"The biggest impact I've seen on my farm with Water Street is in risk management - knowing my breakevens and making sure that I'm selling at a profitable level. Also, I can make sure that I'm always building up working capital and equity in my operation with the information in the financial analysis. Water Street has helped so much to put me in the positive financial shape I'm in now.

As a young farmer, I don't see how you could try to be without Water Street. When you buy a piece of land or machinery as a young farmer, you take a hit on your working capital. Water Street helps me manage that better. They create updated financial scenarios for me when I'm thinking about a purchase. It helps me make good decisions.

Up until 2012, I hadn't carried crop insurance. I signed up that spring because a Water Street ag risk advisor showed me how I could protect my risk and capital with such a small investment. When you're getting started farming, you have so much risk on the table. You need to protect yourself. I could tell they weren't just trying to sell me insurance. They were helping me use insurance by integrating it into my operation so I could get the most out of it."

Illinois Farming Brothers Complete Legacy Planning Process

by Heather Lauf June 20, 2013

Don and Ron Ladage of Chatham, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in several areas of their operation. They talked about how their Water Street legacy advisor helped them work through the legacy planning process:

"Our legacy advisor is very knowledgable and has a lot of experience. She knows what we're dealing with because she understands farming and farmers. She knew what we needed to work through in the legacy planning process and helped us understand our situation. The legacy planning process isn't something you can complete in a couple days or months. Our legacy advisor told us right away that it could take about a year. It made us dig into things that we had forgotten about.

We were already working with Water Street on marketing, and it's nice to keep things in-house. That way, everybody there is on the same page and it's easier to share information between the departments. Our legacy advisor can talk with our market advisor about our situation, and vice versa. If we were working with somebody else, there wouldn't be that opportunity. We felt Water Street would work with us to really understand our situation and help us through the decisions we needed to make."

Nebraska Farmer Works with Water Street Solutions to Bring in the Next Generation

by Heather Lauf March 20, 2013

Mark and Jane Jost of Henderson, Nebraska work with Water Street Solutions in several different areas of their farm operation. They talked about their goals for their farm's legacy and how Water Street is helping:

"We started working with Water Street mainly because we have kids coming in to the operation. We don't want them to have to make some of the same mistakes we went through in the last 30 years. We were looking for someone to be more involved in various facets of our operation in the way that Water Street does.

We see the importance in everything Water Street does and how to apply it on our farm. We're thinking about putting our farm's core values up in our shop office. We are really impressed with the emphasis Water Street places on communication on the farm. With three family members on our farm - and two of them being from the younger generation - there needs to be a lot of communication about what's going on."

Illinois Farmer Builds Farm's Legacy with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf January 10, 2013

Joe and Nathalie Schmidt from Ottawa, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions.  They talked about how working with the company is helping them build their farm's legacy:

"Prior to working with Water Street, we had an insurance agent, no financial analysis other than tax preparation, and no marketing.  Things weren't working to their fullest potential.  We started to realize that we really needed to do this a different way.

We believe Water Street is the right fit for us. It's one of the best things that we've done for our business. This has been a family farm for over a century. Employing the tools that Water Street has is important for us to know that we're doing something proactive for the future of this land that's been entrusted to us."

Nebraska Farmer Appreciates the Values of Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf October 24, 2012

Chris and Margie Hayes from Osceola, Nebraska work with Water Street Solutions in several different areas of their farming operation. They visited the Peoria office and made these comments about their experiences:

"Water Street wants to get to know you and your operation before they start helping you with decisions. I like their values. You can tell they really care about their clients. I think their clients come first - moreso than some of the other services I've dealt with in the past. Here, they have a deep concern for your well-being. And not just in one segment - they cover all avenues: legacy planning, insurance, financials, and, of course, the market advising."

Farmer Finds Peace of Mind with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf October 11, 2012

Travis Michl 3Travis Michl from Newton, Illinois works with Water Street Solutions. He talked about how working with a market advisor lets him focus his attention on other areas of his farm business:

"I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. I have somebody watching my back, all day. That's what Water Street does on the marketing. On our farm, we have a team around us - and our market advisor is a very integral part of that because he watches the markets for us. There's too much involved in farming right now for us to manage everything by ourselves and do an optimal job. Our market advisor leads our marketing so I don't have to worry about that side of things. I know he's got it covered."

Indiana Farmer Finds Confidence, Education with Water Street Solutions

by Water Street Solutions September 27, 2012

Wally Jeannie 1Wally and Jeannie Linneweber of Vincennes, Indiana work with Water Street Solutions. They visited the Peoria office and talked about what they have experienced:

"Working with an ag finance specialist and market advisor has made us more confident and gives us another set of eyes with different opinions. We've been introduced to a world of knowledge and the most passionate group of people all in one place that we've ever seen. Water Street is very sincere about helping a single group of people - farmers."

About Water Street Solutions

Water Street Solutions helps farmers with profitability, using a business model that you won't find anywhere else. Experts in ag finance, crop insurance, commodity marketing and legacy planning work together on a plan tailored for your farm.

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